City Hive

The City Hive is a rooftop beehive that is designed to promote urban beekeeping and raise awareness of the plight of honeybees.

Colony Collapse Disorder has affected honeybees around the world, decreasing local bee populations by roughly 35%. We depend on honeybees for the pollination of 30% of our crops, making this a very human issue.

The design of the City Hive is inspired by the water towers that used to sit on rooftops around the city. Rooftops are an ideal location for honeybee colonies, bringing them out of direct contact with humans, while keeping them close to urban ground level and rooftop gardens. The unique form and location of the towers also cast an evocative silhouette, adding to our cityscape.

This project was developed with our friend Sherry, a local beekeeper (formerly with the Toronto District Beekeeping Association). The hive functionality is based on the traditional Langstroth design which is currently the standard style of hive for 75% of beekeepers around the world. This helps facilitate adoption by using common parts, mechanisms, and actions for hive maintenance. 

The outside of the hive is clad in cedar that is steam bent to sit flush on the round inner profile, and left raw to encourage natural weathering. The honeycomb pattern graphically represents the function of the tower, and insulates the hive. The cedar also acts as passive shading for the main hive body by reflecting sunlight in the summer, and letting light in through the cracks when the sun is low in the winter. This warming and cooling of the hive is an action that the bees will spend large amounts of energy on if required. Assistance in this task encourages health and honey production.


Material: white cedar, cedar, maple plywood, stainless steel
Project Year: 2014